Pressure Relief Valve Digitalization Reduces Energy and Emission

By Sandeep Mukunda

Technology Trends

Digitalization is the new wave sweeping across process industries, worldwide.  The advancement in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud computing is projected as the next big thing to answer the burgeoning need for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing plant efficiency.  Pressure relief valve digitalization (PRV) operation is also a growing trend among end users, especially in the refining, chemical, and power generation sectors.

A conventional PRV has been the go-to technology in process plants to vent overpressure or as a final line of safety to avoid a catastrophic event.  The cost-effectiveness and the autonomous nature of operation have made PRV a prevailing technology for plant safety, over the years.

Inherent problems with PRVs can lead to leakages, excess discharges, or worse…

However, PRVs are riddled with inherent problems during operations, often leading to leakages and excess discharge...or worse!  In a venting application, an improper seating or prolonged venting often leads to higher energy loss or emission. In a typical process plant housing hundreds of PRVs, the amassed leakage figures lead to a significant loss in energy and emissions. 

To minimize the apparent losses that occur due to leakages caused by various factors in a plant, conventional leak detection and inspection techniques, such as visual and manual testing with handheld devices and infrared thermal scanners, are carried out periodically.  However, these techniques are not carried out very frequently enough as they involve immense time, cost, and physical labor.  Also, due to the relatively higher probability of malfunctions in PRV, the traditional inspection techniques are not very effective in managing PRV-related losses.

Ideally, for dynamic inspection of PRV operations, it is essential to monitor both the frequency and the flowrate of leakages due to seating malfunction.  Installation of infrared cameras in the process plants may enhance visual leakage detection capabilities.  However, it is limited only to external venting applications, while inline leakages (vent to flare) and metering remain untracked.  


Pressure Relief Valve Digitization enabled real-time monitoring

Pressure Relief Valve Digitization enabled real-time monitoring can help

To effectively limit PRV malfunction and reduce the overall carbon footprint in process industries, there is a need for a complementing smart device for real-time monitoring and alarm management.  One such holistic solution currently available is a portable acoustic leak detection system for real-time monitoring.  This modular, battery-operated device can be easily retrofitted and can transmit PRV’s operational key parameter data wirelessly in real time to an on-premise or cloud-based infrastructure for analysis.

Apart from leakage detection, metering, and overhaul support, its advanced functionalities include correlating PRV lifting against process and equipment events, identifying root cause of overpressure, and performing predictive analysis.  Immediate or planned corrective action for maintenance and repair operations can be taken based on the severity of the event.  Furthermore, with the full-scale implementation of an asset performance management (APM) solution tool in a given plant, all leakage-related information can be managed via a centralized information management system.

The new ARC report “Pressure Relief Valves” reveals which PRV technologies represent the largest share of the market, provides a detailed forecast on which regions will see the fastest growth, and explains how digitalization of PRV technology can enhance the overall efficiency and carbon footprint of a process plant, in detail.

For more information on this and other available ARC market research, please visit our Market Research and Studies section.

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